Ger­mans can save the day States bat­tle for De­fence con­tracts

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RE­NEE VIELLARIS GREG STOLZ

QUEENS­LAND’S best chancee of se­cur­ing a multi- bil­lion- dol­lar war ma­chine con­tract and re­cal­i­brat­ing the state’s econ­omy rests with the Ger­mans.

The “Team Queens­land” group of 26 Fed­eral Coali­tion MPs is urg­ing two multi­na­tional com­pa­nies in the run­ning for a De­fence Department con­tract to base their op­er­a­tions in Queens­land, as re­ported by the Townsville Bul­letin yes­ter­day ( in­set).

The fight for jobs, more train­ing and cash for the local econ­omy is be­tween Queens­land and Vic­to­ria.

But it is un­der­stood Ger­man com­pany Rhein­metall De­fence Aus­tralia is more open to build the 225 tanks in Queens­land than BAE Sys­tems Aus­tralia, a Bri­tish firm.

While both com­pa­nies have been coy about which state they will choose, Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said she w was gun­ning fo for the $ 5 billi lion wind­fall.

“My Gover ern­ment is abs o l u t e l y de de­ter­mined to se se­cure the Defe fence con­tract f for Q Queens­land,’’ she said.

“My Gov­ern­ment is fight­ing hard … It’s down to Vic­to­ria and Queens­land, and … I’m putting my money on Queens­land. I am very, very op­ti­mistic.”

Ms Palaszczuk said State Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter An­thony Lyn­ham had flown to Ger­many in May to meet with the com­pany.

“When we found out we were short- listed, I said to him, ‘ you get over to Ger­many as quickly as pos­si­ble’. We have been front and cen­tre of this,” she said. “This De­fence con­tract is ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing for Queens­land.

“It means hun­dreds of ar­moured ve­hi­cles to be made and main­tained here in this state.

“It is my Gov­ern­ment that is pur­su­ing this rig­or­ously and fight­ing tooth and nail to get the jobs for ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing here in this state. It’s heart­en­ing to see that we’ve got Coali­tion MPs now say­ing that, ‘ yes we’re go­ing to back this de­fence con­tract’.”

Fed­eral MPs yes­ter­day ques­tioned why Ms Palaszczuk was be­ing so par­ti­san on an is­sue that would help the state.

Le­ich­hardt MP War­ren Entsch said Fair­fax MP Ted O’Brien had been work­ing with the com­pa­nies for months and slammed the Pre­mier for try­ing to score political points.

“She should be build­ing a mon­u­ment for Ted O’Brien in­stead of try­ing to ride on his coat tails,’’ Mr Entsch said.

But Fad­den MP Stu­art Robert said the State Gov­ern­ment de­served some dues.

“The Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has ac­tu­ally done very well of late and have ne­go­ti­ated solidly with the two play­ers,’’ he said.

PUT TO TEST: Lieu­tenant Rebecca Avila on HMAS Can­berra and ( in­set) Colonel Mal­colm Wells, Cap­tain Brett Son­ter and Cap­tain Ash­ley Papp.

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